CONFIDENTIALITY AND AMNESTY
Rockford University will keep confidential the identity of any individual who has made a report or complaint of sex discrimination, including any individual who has made a report or filed a formal complaint of sexual harassment, any complainant, any individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of sex discrimination, any respondent, and any witness, except as may be permitted by the FERPA statute or regulations, 20 U.S.C. 1232g and 34 CFR part 99, or required by law, or to carry out the purposes of 34 CFR part 106, including the conduct of any investigation, hearing, or judicial proceeding arising thereunder.
Individuals who have experienced sex discrimination, sexual misconduct, or sexual harassment may access off-campus confidential resources can contact off-campus confidential resources. Off-campus resources include: licensed professionals, local rape crisis counselors, clergy/chaplains, and domestic violence resources.
Confidential communications are those communications which legally cannot be disclosed to another person without the consent of the individual who originally provided the information, except under very limited circumstances, such as allegations involving the physical or sexual abuse of a child or vulnerable adult or an imminent threat to the life of any person. The University recognizes that some individuals may wish to keep their concerns confidential. As a result, the University has designated specific persons as confidential resources for individuals who prefer to talk with someone confidentially about their concerns. These confidential resources include the following:
Lang Center for Health, Wellness, Counseling, and Disability Services
- Professional Counselors
- Health Services Staff
Location: Lang Center is located between Colman Library and Cummings Residence Complex
Phone: 815-226-4083 / E-Mail: HealthCenter@rockford.edu
Confidential employees are expected to report aggregate data quarterly to the Title IX Coordinator without any personally identifiable details unless the confidential employee determines on a case-by-case basis that reporting would not be in the best interest of the client/patient.
Confidential Sources-OFF CAMPUS Confidential Advisor
There are also off-campus confidential resources that persons who have experienced sex discrimination, sexual harassment, or sexual misconduct may contact. Off-campus resources include: licensed professional counselors, local rape crisis counselors, clergy/chaplains, domestic violence resources. Information regarding on and off campus resources can be found in section On Campus Support Options and Off Campus Support Options.
Rockford University’s Confidential Advisor is Rockford Sexual Assault Counseling. RSAC can provide emergency and ongoing support for concerns of sexual assault. They provide counseling, and support services. The Title IX Coordinator trains their staff yearly about campus procedures and protocols. The Confidential Advisor does not disclose any information regarding like students served. They will however, provide aggregate numbers for parties seen who are part of the RU community.
Non-confidential communications are those communications with any University employee who is not a confidential resource as identified under confidential source section. Only confidential resources can promise confidentiality. All other University employees who become aware of incidents or allegations of sex discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct, including sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking, must report the matter to the University, even if the complainant requests confidentiality. Examples of non-confidential communications include those with:
- All faculty members (including adjunct faculty)
- Admissions and Student Administrative Services (SAS) staff
- Student Life staff
- Residence Hall Directors and Resident Assistants
- Graduate Assistants
- Coaches and Assistant Coaches (including GA staff)
- Human Resources Office
- Library staff
- Alumni staff
- Marketing and Communications staff
- Campus Safety and Security staff
- Facilities and Housekeeping staff
- All other University employees (full-time and part-time)
When reporting misconduct covered under Title IX (e.g. sexual harassment, sex or gender discrimination, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, sexual orientation discrimination, gender identity discrimination, etc.), University employees must provide full details of the incident, if known, including all names and personally identifying information. If a victim wishes for no action to be taken, the Title IX Coordinator must evaluate the request.
If a reporting party discloses an incident to a responsible employee but does not wish for their name to be shared, does not wish for an investigation to take place or does not want a formal resolution to be pursued, the victim may make such a request to the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Coordinators who will evaluate that request in light of the duty to ensure the safety of the campus and comply with federal law. In cases, indicating pattern, predation, threat, weapons and/or violence, the University will likely be unable to honor a request for confidentiality. If the University determines that it cannot maintain a reporting party’s confidentiality, the University will inform the reporting party prior to starting an investigation and will, to the extent possible, only share information with people responsible for handling the University’s response. If the University is able to honor the request for confidentiality, the reporting party must understand that the University’s ability to respond and pursue disciplinary action against the accused is limited.
Rockford University prohibits any person from intimidating, threatening, coercing, or discriminating against any individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Title IX or its implementing regulations, or because an individual has made a report or complaint, testified, assisted, or participated or refused to participate in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under Title IX and its implementing regulations.
This retaliation provision may apply to any individual who has made a report or complaint of sex discrimination, including any individual who has made a report or filed a formal complaint of sexual harassment, any complainant, any individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of sex discrimination, any respondent, any witness, or any other individuals who participate (or refuse to participate) in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing of the Rockford University Title IX grievance process. This policy includes protecting the complainant, respondent, and witnesses from being coerced, intimidated, threatened, or otherwise discriminated against based on their participation or refusal to participate in the Title IX grievance process.
Retaliation includes Intimidation, threats, coercion, or discrimination, including charges against an individual for Code of Conduct or Faculty and Employee Handbook violations that do not involve sex discrimination or sexual harassment, but arise out of the same facts or circumstances as a report or complaint of sex discrimination, or report or formal complaint of sexual harassment, for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Title IX or its implementing regulations.
Charging an individual with a Code of Conduct, Faculty Handbook, or Employee Handbook violation for making a materially false statement in bad faith in the course of the grievance process does not constitute retaliation. However, a determination regarding responsibility alone is not sufficient to conclude that an individual made a materially false statement in bad faith. A complainant’s allegations may not have been false even where the ultimate determination is that the respondent is not responsible and/or that the complainant may not have acted subjectively in bad faith (and conversely, that a respondent may not have made false, or subjectively bad faith, denials even where the respondent is found responsible).
Exercising rights protected under the First Amendment does not constitute retaliation.
The parties have the right to discuss the allegations under investigation, but this right does not preclude Rockford University from warning the parties not to discuss or disseminate the allegations in a manner that constitutes retaliation or unlawful tortious conduct. It is unacceptable for any person to leak or disseminate information to retaliate against another person.
Complaints alleging retaliation may be filed with the Rockford University Title IX Coordinator, which will be handled using the prompt and equitable grievance procedures available for non-sexual harassment sex discrimination complaints by students and employees, as referenced in Rockford University’s non-discrimination policy.
The welfare of students, staff, and faculty is of paramount importance. The Rockford University community encourages the reporting of alleged sex discrimination, sexual misconduct and sexual harassment. Sometimes, students are hesitant to report to University officials because they fear that they themselves may be charged with policy violations, such as underage drinking at the time of the incident. Similarly, students are sometimes hesitant to offer assistance to others for fear that they may get themselves in trouble. For example, an underage student who has been consuming alcohol might hesitate to bring the sexual misconduct victim to Campus Safety and Security for reporting and/or assistance.) It is in the best interest of the Rockford University community for individuals to report allegations of sexual misconduct to University officials.
To encourage reporting, Rockford University pursues a policy of offering reporters of sexual misconduct and students who offer assistance to others in need a limited immunity from being charged with policy violations related to the sex discrimination, sexual misconduct or sexual harassment incident. In accordance with the Illinois Preventing Sexual Violence in Higher Education Act, the University will provide immunity to any individual who reports, in good faith, an alleged violation of the University’s comprehensive policy to a responsible employee so that the reporting party will not receive a disciplinary sanction by the institution for a student conduct violation, such as underage drinking or possession or use of a controlled substance, that is revealed in the course of such a report, unless the University determines that the violation was egregious, including without limitation an action that places the health or safety of any other person at risk. While policy violations cannot be completely overlooked, the University will provide referrals to counseling and may require educational options in such instances.